Consumer Protection Agencies
Better Business Bureau: Better Business Bureaus are private nonprofit agencies supported largely by membership dues paid by business and professional groups. These bureaus provide reliability reports on business firms which, in turn, should prove helpful to consumers before they make a purchase. The BBB claims that they respond to millions of inquiries each year.
In addition to providing reports, they help "resolve consumers' disputes with businesses through telephone conciliation, mediation and arbitration; and promote ethical business standards and voluntary self-regulation of business practices."
The Federal Trade Commission: The Federal Trade Commission enforces a variety of federal antitrust and consumer protection laws. The Commission seeks to ensure that the nation's markets function competitively, and are vigorous, efficient, and free of undue restrictions. The Commission also works to enhance the smooth operation of the marketplace by eliminating acts or practices that are unfair or deceptive.
In general, the Commission's efforts are directed toward stopping actions that threaten consumers' opportunities to exercise informed choice. Finally, the Commission undertakes economic analysis to support its law enforcement efforts and to contribute to the policy deliberations of the Congress, the Executive Branch, other independent agencies, and state and local governments when requested.
National Fraud Information Center: The National Fraud Information Center is a nonprofit organization which helps consumers to report fraud and offers helpful advice on how to avoid becoming a victim. Incident reports are entered in the NFIC database and referred electronically to the National Electronic Fraud Database administered by the FTC and the National Association of Attorneys General.
National Fraud Information Center incident reports are also referred to a variety of federal and state regulatory and enforcement agenciesthe FBI, Secret Service, U S Postal Inspectors, Securities and Exchange Commission, and US Attorneys.